As an eight year-old playing on a youth league team named after the Minnesota Strikers of the long defunct Major Indoor Soccer League, soccer was a sport played but seldom watched in the United States. Oh, how the times have changed! These days not only do kids play football, er, soccer, but they are well versed in the sport’s many international stars and leagues. That interest extends to Major League Soccer, the professional organization in the United States that has not only survived for two decades but has thrived.
The MLS playoffs have almost reached their pinnacle, and right in the thick of the race for MLS Cup is the Columbus Crew SC. The team is currently battling it out for the Eastern Conference Championship with the New York Red Bulls and is in town (well, New Jersey) for the second and deciding game this evening. They won the first game in Columbus 2–0, and so long as Red Bulls don’t win by more than two goals today, the Crew will be playing for the Cup against the winner of the Western Conference Championship being played by FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers. The last time the Crew won the Cup was in 2008. (Coincidentally, the Red Bulls were the losing squad that year.)
Tonight’s game starts at 7:30, so as of this writing, you still have time to score tickets (there are plenty on StubHub) and get out to the Red Bull Arena. If not, Fox Sports will be showing the match.